Ayer police pull over Leominster-area drug dealer identified by informant, arrest her passenger, and give her a warning
AYER – During the week of December 23, 2022, Officer Timothy Ialeggio of the Ayer Police Department was informed by a local source that a woman known to deal drugs from the Leominster area was starting to frequent Ayer.
According to Officer Ialeggio’s Narrative for the incident, the source said that the woman, Andrea Miller, 39, was possibly operating an older green Nissan or Toyota sedan.
Officer Ialeggio ran a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check on Miller and found five open possession with intent to distribute charges within the last six months.
At about 6:00 p.m. two days later, on Sunday, December 25, Officer Ialeggio saw a vehicle matching the description given by the informant pull into 8 Pearl Street. According to Officer Ialeggio, the vehicle was a 1998 green Nissan Altima with a defective exhaust system that police valued at $300.
“The exhaust was noticeably loud as the vehicle was in operation,” wrote Officer Ialeggio in his Narrative. “I am familiar with this address [8 Pearl Street] as a common location for drug activity in the Town of Ayer. It should also be noted that on 11/23/2021 officers observed a vehicle parked at 8 Pearl Street which was stopped for motor vehicle violations after leaving the residence. This stop resulted in the seizure of 48 grams of crack cocaine and the operator of the vehicle admitted they were at the residence prior to the stop.”
On Thursday, December 29, at about 4:00 p.m., Officer Ialeggio said he saw the vehicle parked outside of 8 Pearl Street again. This time, the officer copied down the vehicle’s plate number and when the vehicle left about an hour later, he followed it onto Park Street, he said, because the Nissan’s “noticeably loud” exhaust system was in violation of MGL C89 s9, but he ended up pulling the vehicle over for a different violation.
“While traveling east on Park St. behind the green Nissan we approached the intersection of Park St. and Main St. The vehicle slowed down, however, did not come to a complete stop in violation of MGL C89 s9 before turning right onto W. Main Street,” wrote Officer Ialeggio in his Narrative. “I then activated my blue emergency lights and completed a motor vehicle stop on W. Main Street.”
Officer Michael Bourisk arrived on scene to assist.
Officer Ialeggio approached the driver side window and made contact with the operator, who identified herself as Andrea Miller.
“While speaking with Andrea I was able to see a small portion of Chore Boy steel wool in the driver door pocket,” explained Officer Ialeggio in his Narrative. “The portion of steel wool appeared blackened as if it was burnt by a flame. Through my training, knowledge and experience I instantly recognized this piece of Chore Boy as paraphernalia used to smoke crack cocaine. I asked Andrea what the Chore Boy was for. Andrea looked at it and stated she did not know. In the cup holder between the seats was a small handheld torch. These size torches are commonly used to smoke crack cocaine. I asked Andrea why she had a small torch in the cup holder. Andrea stated she just has it and uses it to light cigarettes.”
According to Officer Ialeggio, he then spoke with the passenger of the vehicle, Russell Gutneckt, whom he was “familiar with from prior police contact.” Gutknecht, 53, is a self-employed construction worker who lives on Pearl Street in Ayer.
“I explained to the two of them that based on the detailed information provided from a cooperative source, Andrea’s criminal history, the history of the house they were leaving and the items in plain view at the time of the stop, I was reasonably suspicious there was crack cocaine inside the vehicle,” wrote Officer Ialeggio in his Narrative. “Both Andrea and Russell denied the accusation. While speaking with Russell at the passenger side of the vehicle I observed an additional small piece of Chore Boy steel wool under Russell’s feet furthering my suspicion.”
Chief Brian Gill of the Ayer Police Department authorized a K9 to respond to the scene. Officer Brian Casey and K9 Vojak of the Littleton Police Department were called in to assist. Shortly, after Officer Casey arrived on scene, Officers Monicka Jean-Baptiste and Matthew Euliano of the Shirly Police Department arrived to assist as well.
When K9 Vojak alerted to the presence of narcotics in the vehicle, Officer Ialeggio concluded he then had enough probable cause to search the vehicle.
Officers Casey, Euliano and Ialeggio then commenced a “probable cause” search of the vehicle.
Inside Gutknecht’s backpack police found a small, silver eye glass case containing a plastic baggie with 1.23 grams of fentanyl in it. Also in the eye glass case was a baggie containing .16 grams of crack-cocaine. The probable cause search was concluded without any additional findings, Ialeggio said.
According to Officer Ialeggio’s Narrative, Gutneckt was taken into custody without incident and charged with Possession of a Class A Substance and Possession of a Class B Substance.
Miller was issued a citation warning for defective equipment and stop sign violations.
Gutneckt’s bail was set at $40; after it was posted by a friend, he was released at 8:11 p.m. that evening.
Gutneckt was arraigned in Ayer District Court on December 30. He had a pretrial hearing on February 9. He is scheduled to appear in court again on April 14 for a discovery compliance and jury election hearing.
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Disclaimer 2: If you are wondering why the incident in this story was from late December, that’s because I had to file FOIA request(s) to get the court documents for the incident. FOIAs are time consuming.